We all despise being lied to. If asked what characteristic we least like in a person most of us would say dishonesty. Yet, sometimes the person telling us the biggest lies is the person looking back at us in the mirror. Yes, we lie to ourselves all the time. We lie because we are afraid, we feel inadequate, or we feel ashamed. We believe that if we were different somehow or if we were right for doing the wrong things we did our lives would be better. The truth is, the best life is the life we live when we’re completely honest with ourselves about ourselves. Here are seven signs you are lying to yourself and don’t know it so that you can finally learn to tell yourself the truth:

1. Your emotions don’t match your words

Have you ever tried to convince yourself that you were not hurt or angry, but your emotions told a different story? You have tears running down your face or steam coming out your ears even though you say everything is fine. Your emotions may even catch you off guard. You wonder where did these tears come from or why you are so mad. When your emotions do not match how you say or think you feel there’s a good chance that you are lying to yourself. Facing the truth about how you feel allows you to address what is or is not working in that moment. Acknowledge how you really feel and express those feelings constructively. If you’re hurt don’t be afraid to say you’re hurt. Honesty is where true healing or resolution comes from.

2. Your behavior doesn’t align with your proclamations

“This year is going to finally be my year. I’m going to lose weight, start a business, and fall in love.” Many people make wishful proclamations such as these every January, but few people actually put forth any significant effort. If you’re not putting action behind what you say you want you’re probably lying to yourself about what you want or how bad you want it. Ultimately, you feel like a failure because you didn’t accomplish your goal. In reality, the goal might not be what you really wanted. It may be what you think you need in order to have something else. For example, you may tell yourself you need to wear a certain clothing size to attract a mate. Because you’re not being honest with yourself about what you really want your behavior is out of alignment. If your behavior does not align with your proclamations ask yourself why not. Be open to reconsidering your goals.

3. You make extreme statements

You are either paranoid or extreme or both.  If you think everyone is out to get you or that you never get any good opportunities you’re lying to yourself.  Or you make extreme statements such as, “There are no good men around.” You are committed to one vantage point without healthy consideration of other possibilities. You avoid rational ideas. You may be hiding behind an insecurity that you have. Could it be that you’re afraid of success or falling in love? As long as you believe extreme, irrational thoughts you don’t have to make an effort or put yourself out there. You may feel safe, but you won’t achieve what you really want. Consider all possibilities available to you. Consider new thoughts.

4. You feel inauthentic

People who are lying to themselves sometimes wonder, “Who am I?” You’ve been inauthentic for so long you no longer know who you really are or feel comfortable in your own skin. You don’t know what you want. You don’t know what makes you happy anymore. You laugh even if the joke wasn’t funny. You go places you don’t enjoy. You buy things you cannot afford. You’ve lost touch with yourself so you try to fit in with everyone else. Take note of how you feel throughout the day. What things make you feel alive? What things make you feel inauthentic or uncomfortable with yourself? Follow the things that make you come alive.

5. You are not open to input from others

Often there are times you don’t even want to know or accept that you are lying to yourself. You believe that what you believe is the only thing that matters. Therefore, you shut out any commentary from outsiders. You don’t want their input, differing perspective or opinion. This would only shine light on the fact that you are lying to yourself and force you to own up to it. Learn to accept feedback from people you trust so that you can know your truth.

6. You are never wrong

No matter what happened it wasn’t your fault. Even if it was your fault you convince yourself that it was not. Your last breakup was her fault. So was the breakup before that one and the previous one too. The problem with this is that you will never right your wrongs or learn from your mistakes. You tend to repeat the same scenario over and over again with different people or places. You lie to yourself because you cannot accept that maybe it’s you. Let me assure you, it is you. And that’s okay. Learn from it, grow, and do better in the future.

7. You find yourself in over your head

You go after things you’re not equipped to handle because you’ve over-exaggerated your abilities. You find yourself in situations where you can’t deliver what you said you would deliver. You tell yourself you can do anything. You’re not being honest about your skill set, personality or knowledge. Be honest about what you can and cannot do. What you can’t do today may be achievable in the future if you educate yourself. The key is to first acknowledge that you don’t know what you don’t know.

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